Tamara Jenkinson


The small dark man walks away looking at his Sunday shoes.
I give the thumbs up to my ex-husband
Judas is alive and wells up in me.
Generations may depend on that nod.
My daughter's child might never know
Her father came looking, that he came
A long distance from the south
Dressed in his best.
I watch him leave.

Seals are scratching the inside of ice
I can see where I cannot reach
I wonder if I imagine the muffled screams
Oh God! Yes, God
Will give them what they need.

For $58.95 we are going to a far-away place
It is a privilege not usually accorded a white man.
I am not a man but in this role
my brother is the kind of hunter
who offers guidance.
Innocent of the blood shed in my fore name
Touching the globe gingerly where we might go
I step onto the wet sand expectantly.

I meet a woman in the shade
She is buried like a snake
All curled and embracing the soft
Mad River Sand. I am not sure what they call
This position but it is evident that some yogi
taught someone who taught someone who...
May, maybe my old bones can learn.
I lie down and raise one leg. It hurts
But the warmth of the sand beckons
past the pain it whispers maintain.

And then there is a circle of women
We discuss the properties of this particular sand.
It does not have the cutting edges like the sand at Cedar Flat.

Soon there is a poet asking for a reader.
I need a big voice for these words
Out here by the roar of the river.
Someone else volunteers before I can
And dreamlike things change.
There is an amphitheatre below
Even a mike and a costume of bright silk
For the reader who suddenly knows
The poem by heart
And a documentary plays
On a giant screen behind
Images flash silently of parrots, tropical flowers, macaws...
The reader has wound herself into the words.
She shivers and wails.
She comes from a jungle too.

Born in England, Tamara Jenkinson was raised all over the place, mostly Ireland, England, France, and Spain. A naturalized citizen of the US, she has published in local college magazines and chapbooks, and on-line at PoetryMagazine.com. and SeekerMagazine.com. She says that she most enjoys the immediacy of reading to a live audience. TJ is a mother, grandmother, and earns her living as a social worker in a small Northern Californian town.


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